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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so I am new here and need help with running a circuit to my shed. I here is what I have done. I ran50' of 14-2 with a 15a breaker from the panel to a box and spliced it to 12-2 UF-B in the house. Ran that outside and underground and into my shed where I spliced it in a box back to 14-2 then ran that to a 15a switch. Problem is I get "hot" on my tester but nothing will work off of the circuit in the garage. I only want to power 4 fluorescent lights off of the circuit. I figured 15a would be plenty. I only used the 12-2 UF-B because it was free. Any ideas? Is it because I went from 14-2 to 12-2 back to 14-2? Thanks!

--Noah
 

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Bad junction point. Post pic's of the splice connections in the boxes as is. Everything if hooked up correctly for 110/15a should be White to white, Black to black, Ground to ground. If done correctly, every splice point should be solid when trying to tug a little at the connection of the wire nuts/marriets.
 

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make sure neutral is connected.wire size ok.in sw box at shed,white from ckt to white from lites.black from ckt(breaker)to one side of sw in shed,black from lite to other screw of sw in shed.check splices.check connections with power off first.
 

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A couple of things. Flourescents are pretty finicky when it comes to grounding. That could be part of your problem. And the other thing....get rid of that 12 ga. wire. You can't mix wires in a run per code. It becomes a safety issue when someone sees the 12 ga. and assumes the whole circuit is 12 ga. and installs a 20
amp breaker. That would allow the 14ga wire to overload before tripping the breaker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Attached is a pic of the splices. The box in the shed is the same. I guess I could replace the 14-2 with 12-2 and run a 20a circuit for the lights but I was trying to get away with the materials I had on hand. Ill check all the grounds again and go from there. I would say the first run of 14-2 to the box below is about 50'. The 12-2 UF-B is about 50' and I have another 25' or so of 14-2 in the shed. Could it be a voltage problem caused by going from 14-2 to 12-2 back to 14-2?
 

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And the other thing....get rid of that 12 ga. wire. You can't mix wires in a run per code. It becomes a safety issue when someone sees the 12 ga. and assumes the whole circuit is 12 ga. and installs a 20
Code section for that ?
Higher gauge wire is run all the time for longer distances
I rarely mix gauge sizes, but have never had a problem doing so

Do you have a tester &have you checked voltage at the end ?
Where are you located ?
How did you connect the wires in the panel ?
I would have run 12-3 & had (2) 20a circuits out there just in case
 

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  • Got voltmeter? Check voltage
  • Got contact tester? Check for power
  • Lights work by themselves? Make sure they are not the problem.
  • Works with an incandescant light instead of flourescents? If yes, back to checking voltage and grounds.
  • Couble check all connections
  • Double check you are connected properly in the breaker panel
  • Swap the wire to another known good breaker to check if the breaker is the problem
Mixing wire gauges is ok - but you have to have a breaker sized for the physically smaller gauge. In this case 15a. If #12 in the panel on a 15a breaker, suggest to put a marker on the wire that it's supposed to be a 15a circuit - this way the next guy does not think it's ok to put a 20a breaker there.
 

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If the wire end in the panel is 14 gauge you would not have confusion with accidentally putting a 20 amp breaker on a circuit with 14 gauge wire.

While the 12 gauge cable was free, you would have been better off running a heavier underground cable, at least 10 gauge for a small shed or 8-3 (plus ground) for a shed that might conceivably be used as a workshop.

You don't have to install a subpanel until such time as you put in breakers larger than 20 amps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the help I have figured out the problem. I rechecked the Junction Boxes and found that one of the neutral wires had been cut through. I redid that box and everything works. Thanks!

--Noah
 

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Well I've searched the NEC and can't find anything that prohibits mixing wire sizes. I've never allowed or done it in my business, not even temporary. In theory if the overcurrent protection is suited for the thinner wire, there won't be a problem. But who knows who will come along in the future and make assumptions which could cause an overloading situation. In my opinion it's a bad practice to do so regardless of the NEC's lack of attention to the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have 14-2 running into the panel with a 15a breaker. All the switches and receptacles on the circuit are 15a. I only used 12-2 UF-B for the outside because it was free and its only powering 4 fluorescent light fixtures.
 

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Well I've searched the NEC and can't find anything that prohibits mixing wire sizes. I've never allowed or done it in my business, not even temporary. In theory if the overcurrent protection is suited for the thinner wire, there won't be a problem. But who knows who will come along in the future and make assumptions which could cause an overloading situation. In my opinion it's a bad practice to do so regardless of the NEC's lack of attention to the issue.
Only thing that really comes to mind, is at the final junction point, then yes you can go lesser in gauge, but in the middle of a run, it is not good. Always go from larger size wire to smaller. It is more of a common sense rule, when mixing wire gauges in a run.
 

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Mixing of wire sizes is a common practice(ok maybe not that common). If you need a wire size for voltage drop that will not fit your terminals, splice on two both ends a smaller piece of wire that will fit the terminal screws. The short sections of small gauge wire will not add significantly to the over all voltage drop.
Have in times past use 500KCML wire to run a 20a receptical for LOOOONG distances (like a mile)with 12ga spliced on both ends for make up of connections to plug and breaker.

This is a legal and code compliant installation (both my example and the OP's)
 

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Since nobody else pointed it out ... it looks like you have the ground wires of both cables under the same screw. If so, connect a short piece of bare under the screw and wire nut all 3 together.

And is that tape on the cable under the NM connectors?
 
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